Between my three pregnancies I have been pregnant during every season of the year, sometimes twice. From the summer heat to the isolation of winter, pregnancy is never easy, regardless of what time of the year you happen to be gestating. However, I can tell you from experience that being pregnant during the holidays is the worst of the worst, my friends, and for so many reasons.
Holidays suck in general, or at least for the majority of us. From family drama to financial stress, traveling, and things not quite meeting everyone's expectations, it's not necessarily the most stress-free time of the year. And when you're pregnant, the difficulties of the holiday season are exacerbated. Your pregnancy hormones make navigating conflict so much harder, and the morning sickness, having to pee every 20 minutes, and swollen feet make traveling, holiday shopping, and well, everything, nothing less than difficult. And when things don't go as planned, it's not like you can hide in the bathroom with a bottle of wine and a plate of cookies.
Then there's the fact that when you are pregnant you "get" to be the center of attention, whether you want to or not. Everyone from strangers at the mall to great aunt Sally thinks it's OK to touch you, ask you personal questions, comment on your body, or share their opinion about whether or not you should be having that peppermint mocha, sip of champagne, or extra piece of pie.
So, yeah, I have more than a few reasons why I think being pregnant during the holidays completely sucks, including the following:
Our culture is obsessed with pregnant women. Which seems nice at first, because pregnancy is a time when you should be cared for and supported. But I can tell you that it gets really old after a while, and what seems like a hundred strangers touching you without your permission or thinking you want their opinion about your pregnancy or baby.
From not being able to enjoy wine at Thanksgiving, Irish coffee at Christmas, or champagne on New Year's Eve, I missed out on a whole season of cheer when I was pregnant.
For me, having hyperemesis gravidarum during my last two pregnancies meant that I never knew what, if anything, I would be able to eat. A reality that in and of itself is daunting, but is horrible during the holidays when people are busy making your favorite food. If you are able to eat, people find it necessary to comment about it:
Are you sure you should be eating that?
Are you really going to have another piece of pie?
How much weight have you gained?
What and how much you choose to eat is no one's freaking business, but the holidays bring out the "best" in people, so you're usually stuck fielding their comments and questions.
Early in your pregnancy, you may have nausea and vomiting to contend with. Late in your pregnancy, you might worry about having your baby in a strange hospital or on the side of the highway. All the way through, you are bound to be a little uncomfortable and have to stop 100 times to pee. Traveling while pregnant sucks.
I am not fond of family drama at any time. I can certainly do without petty feuds, passive aggressive comments, and political discussions that make everyone angry, sad, or want to drink their weight in wine. But wen you are pregnant, hormones can make you super sensitive and more than a little emotional. In my experience, this generally means more holiday tears than holiday cheer.
Between shopping, parties, and family gatherings, the holidays create so many more opportunities for people to forget their manners and your personal boundaries. They ask you personal questions like:
"When was your baby conceived?"
"Are you planning to breastfeed?"
"Are you going to have a vaginal birth?"
"How much weight have you gained?"
"When are you having another one?"
None. Of. Your. Business.
I freaking hate shopping this time of year. I just can't with the crowds, consumerism, and not being able to find a parking spot, like, ever. When pregnant, holiday shopping means navigating crowds while pregnant, standing in line while pregnant, and the aforementioned awkward encounters with strangers, all while a tiny fetus kicks you in the ribs.
With the state of health care in the U.S. being pretty much a dumpster fire, and all of the things you have to buy for your pregnant self and new baby to be, pregnancy + the holidays can = some serious financial stress. Having a baby is expensive, and there's nothing like the holidays to remind you of that fact.
On the plus side, pregnancy is a magical excuse to hide at home and watch Netflix while everyone else attends the events you don't enjoy, so there is one bright star in the darkness that is pregnancy during the holidays.
But TBH, I feel like I missed out on some of my favorite holiday traditions because my body was busy growing another human being. I didn't have the energy to attend events I actually wanted to go to, and I felt too nauseated to eat the foods I look forward to eating every year. So while the holidays tend to be a mixed bag of bad and good, dealing with a pregnancy during the holidays is, you know, kind of the worst.
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